In the News June 15
Workers Defend Rights in Face of Stepped-Up Attacks
Film Workers Fight for Their Rights
Directors and actors are waging struggles on two fronts against attacks from film and TV producers.
Movie directors in British Columbia issued strike notice on April 26. Their union, the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC), issued this statement to their members: “For the first time in our history as a union, we have issued strike notice.
“On April 25th, your Negotiating Team met with the Negotiating Producers. In light of your overwhelming support for a strike mandate, we had expected that the producers would address the issues that are vitally important to all of our members. They did not.”
The DGC is fighting for minimum wage differentials, retroactivity of wages to the expiry of their last contract, payment terms for COVID testing and against employer clawbacks.
As of June 9 the DGC announced that it had reached a tentative agreement but was still working out the language of the memorandum, which would then go to members for ratification.
Another union, the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA), has filed a complaint of bargaining in bad faith. The union’s Commercial Agreement Bulletin headline reads, “Taking legal action against ICA’s union-busting.”
The Bulletin announces, “On May 17, ACTRA filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board that the Institute of Canadian Agencies (ICA), and the nine advertising agencies it represented in negotiations, bargained in bad faith over the past year as ACTRA sought to reach an agreement on the renewal of the National Commercial Agreement (NCA).”
The National Commercial Agreement (NCA) covers the engagement of ACTRA performers in all commercial productions.
One group of advertising agencies — the Association of Canadian Advertisers (ACA) — has signed the NCA with ACTRA. A second, smaller group — the ICA — has not signed and ACTRA is accusing them of ‘union-busting.’
“The ICA only wanted a special deal for their member agencies to have the option to ignore the contract… so they could make non-union commercials,” states ACTRA.
“We are also seeking damages in the form of wages, benefits, and retirement contributions lost as a result of unlawfully making non-union commercials.”
ACTRA members had their contracts to perform in union commercials broken and the union is fighting to get those members paid for that lost work.
In Hollywood last fall, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) members voted, nearly unanimously, to call a strike. This was the first time in IATSE’s 128-year history that members of the union had authorized a nation-wide strike.
The main issues were long working hours, unsafe on-set conditions, minimum wages.
IATSE represents carpenters, electricians, painters, stagehands, cinematographers, hairstylists, costumers, makeup artists, craft services, and editors.
Meanwhile the movie producers’ profits are escalating at an even higher rate.
PricewaterhouseCoopers in a recent report has predicted that streaming video companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Hulu will generate a massive $94 billion in revenues by the end of 2025, up 60 per cent from 2020.
For the DGC BC website click here.
For the ACTRA Bulletin click here: click here.
Workers’ Forum, posted June 15, 2022.